Harvard University: Michael Sandel's "Free to Choose"

Watch this lecture until 27:20. Sandel introduces the position of libertarianism as an alternative to utilitarianism. Notice that the everyday understanding of libertarianism may or may not match what philosophers mean by libertarianism: while there is a libertarian political party in the United States, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines libertarianism as a specific moral or ethical view, which assumes that agents have self-ownership and the freedom to acquire property rights and external goods and status. We have just seen how Mill argues that we should respect individual rights because it is good for the whole of society in the long run. In other words, Mill holds that individual rights are to be valued for their utility. Libertarianism, by contrast, assigns a more fundamental role to individual rights, holding that they should be valued in and of themselves, and because of this, the state should be limited in its power to restrict our right to individual liberty.